Monday, April 30, 2012

Rug Hooking Memories

I have been wanting to have a "real" studio for me to create, and craft. Up till now, I would say that I have been a nomadic crafter, planting my craft tent in this room or that room... Yesterday, as I was gathering stash and projects, I found a project that is full of memories for me.

This project is special in two ways. It reminds me of a lovely trip my husband and I took to Maine, and of discovering rug hooking. We stayed in a bed and breakfast, the Hearthside Inn in Bar Harbor. One morning, after breakfast, I was sitting in the parlor cross-stitching. The owner of the Inn came to see what I was working on. We started talking about crafts, mine and his. He said he liked rug hooking, and asked me if I wanted to see his work. I of course agreed, always wanting to discover a new craft, but naively not expecting that I would fall totally in love with it. He was working on a geometric rug in lovely fall tones. I marveled at all the perfect wool fabric loops, at the depth of the colors. He gave me a crash course in rug hooking, and gave me addresses for two stores he liked in Maine. We decided to visit the one in Kennebunport,W. Cushing & Company. The store was full of hooked rugs, florals, geometrics, animal patterns, and a rainbow of wool fabrics.

While still in denial, on the way to the store, I had told my husband I just wanted to look, but that I really was not going to take up another craft. When my husband saw me in the store as happy as a little girl in a candy shop, he whispered in my ear, "pick a project."

I did not resist, I picked one. I picked a small strawberry chair pad project, that had been designed by Joan Moshimer. I bought the project as a kit with all the wool already chosen for me and cut. I purchased a simple Joan Moshimer hook.

As soon as we got home, I started working on the project ... I hooked, and hooked, following the directions provided in the kit. The strips of wool were #3, and I found it hard to bring them up through the linen backing without twisting them, or shredding them. In retrospect, this might not have been the best project to start with. A primitive rug, with wider strips, and a lot less shading might have been a lot better for me. I did learn a lot, but at some point I started feeling restricted by the project. I put it aside, and started creating my own patterns, and my own wools, embracing the old traditions, recycling woolen fabrics, and creating simpler more organic designs.

When I found the strawberries yesterday, I decided it was time to finish it. So this is what I will be working on for the next few days. This piece has a special place in my heart. I would love to have it adorn the top of a shaker box. I could use the box to store notions, in my soon to be studio ...


  1. I said exactly the same thing about not starting a new craft. I also fell totally in love with hooking and am so grateful for the many wonderful ladies who have given me advice and help

  2. CharRube, thank you for your comment. I have been rug hooking for years, but have only recently joined the online rug hooking community, and I too am grateful for the new friends, the inspiration, and the advice.